In September 1989, the week Tears for Fears released their third album, The Seeds of Love, I interviewed both members of the duo separately for a Rolling Stone feature headlined “Fear of Finishing: How Tears for Fears Took Four Years to Sprout The Seeds of Love.” (Had an editor pored over my interviews, the title might well have included the word “Fussy.”) This interview with Curt Smith details the making of that album.
I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting on the past these days. I’ve also been thinking about records and the stores where I used to buy them. Despite streaming, rents, corruption, consolidation, an epidemic and other deleterious factors, New York still has a number of going concerns, but I recently got it in my head to see what became of the places that are now gone.
While I’m not sure what value these pictures of places that used to house New York City record stores hold, some mixture of nostalgia and curiosity got me out of the house to go photograph them.
In a never-before published article written in 1976, Pete Silverton gets up close and personal with Joe Strummer and the band that preceded the Clash. “The main reason for seeing the 101’ers is the short stocky guy with cropped dark hair intent on further mutilating his already near-to-death Telecaster — Joe Strummer.”
There aren’t many other bands named after a member who isn’t the clear frontperson. J. Geils comes first to mind….Manfred Mann…Zumpano… But when Kippington Lodge decided to reinvent themselves in 1969, that’s what they did. They became Brinsley Schwarz.
Since Grazed, the first new studio album in six years from Chicago’s Eleventh Dream Day, came about largely as a result of a musician being sidelined with a serious health problem. But it wasn’t COVID. “I had a severe back injury from playing basketball,” guitarist and vocalist Rick Rizzo explains. “Somebody over 60 [like me] probably shouldn’t be playing with people in their 20s or 30s. A young guy completely ran me over and I got slammed hard into the pavement.”
“Oh, honey, I have a three-inch stack of notes. I’m not saying that anyone else would get this without my explanation but I absolutely did that. If anyone wants to take the time and sit down with my notes, I would [explain it]. I said it because it’s true; and it mattered to me, but I think people would prefer to keep their own images. It makes for a richer structure, and people can tell there’s thought in it, but I don’t think anyone really cares.”
On the occasion of Sparks’ first tour of America in 1975, TP spoke to Ron and Russel Mael. They were articulate, intelligent and totally convinced that they have no equals, musically, in the British charts.
Milton Berle was a legend, a figure so engrained in American culture and yet so far outside my cultural world that talking to him on the phone about Elvis Presley in 1997 didn’t quite feel real. He was old and hard of hearing but completely capable of reeling off ancient anecdotes.
“The shows I like the most are when we’re trying to win somebody over,” says Jack White, “When they’re yelling at us, that really gets me going.” Right now, the White Stripes are definitely going. The Detroit duo is indie rock’s great white hope, and audiences are falling for them like a punch-drunk boxer throwing a fight. The guy standing with his wife behind the sound board heard one song on a college radio station, bought the White Stripes’ current album, White Blood Cells, and drove in from Connecticut for the first of their three sold-out New York shows. He’s not disappointed.
I met John Lydon in a New York hotel room on a promotional tour for his first memoir. Although it was a fruitful interview, he ate sushi while we spoke and displayed an overt display of scorn that could have been better saved for someone with a lot less admiration and respect for him and his music…
Dancing about architecture? How about listening about music….
Why do I write about music? Why does anyone? I’ve given that question a lot of thought and I have discerned subliminal motives that are less than flattering. On one hand, it’s the desire to share what moves me, to offer the benefit of serious consideration and historical knowledge to the young and curious. On a deeper level, however, it springs from a desire to be accepted and appreciated, to establish standing in the world that I hungered for as a child.
His songs cast an eerie spell; they hold you in their grip and rarely let go. It’s not only that Nick Drake produced some of the finest melodies and lyrics ever or that he influenced many a romantic young man to take up the art of song. It’s the emotional intensity and sincerity of his music.
Speaking from his home in Omaha, Nebraska recently, Matthew Sweet was supposed to be discussing his new album. But his mind was elsewhere – like, on another planet. “I have a real thing for Mars,” he says. “I’m really interested in astrophysics and astrobiology, so Mars things I’m always kind of excited about.”
Director Julien Temple talks about his new Shane MacGowan documentary, Crock of Gold. “Shane talking to other people he knows or respects gave us a more scattershot approach. We shot him and Johnny [Depp] for eight hours and probably only got three or four minutes out of it. But it was spontaneous and uninhibited.”
Brothers of the Head,, which arrived hot on the platform heels of Velvet Goldmine and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, is a faux documentary about a doomed mid-’70s UK glam/punk act led by conjoined twins, told via supposedly vintage verité footage, contemporary interviews and scenes from an abandoned bio-pic allegedly directed by Ken Russell.
The once-notorious Rat Scabies of the Damned is now a charming grandfather, drumming (remotely) in a great band with another London scene stalwart and two LA punk veterans.
The new documentary film White Riot covers the first two years – 1976 to 1978 — of the British activist organization Rock Against Racism. Director Rubika Shah’s style, which incorporates animation and quick edits, builds on the energy of the punk scene and includes plenty of exciting music.
With a huge box set retrospective and a fired-up new solo album, Bob Mould is living proof that old punks never die.
Thurston Moore talks about his new album, By the Fire, his songwriting process, surviving the indie rock lifestyle, playing for 200,000 people and more.